Orion Art and Design Student Competition 2017

All the details


Welcome to the 2017 Orion Publishing Group Art and Design competition. We have a stunning project for you this year, which we hope you’ll get involved in.



We are really excited to offer you the chance to create a book cover for one of the best-loved bits of translated literary fiction; to design and illustrate the book cover for The Reader by Prof Bernhard Schlink. First published in 1997 to critical acclaim, celebrating 20 years since it was first published in 2017. In 2008 it was turned into an Oscar winning movie. The Reader is a modern classic.

We expect you to design and illustrate the front, back and spine for a new paperback edition. We are looking for something fresh, commercial, eye catching and collectable. We want to bring this title to a new audience. Photographs may be used but copyright must be available.



Berlin, 1930’s.

For 15-year-old Michael Berg, a chance meeting with an older woman leads to far more than he ever imagined. The woman in question is Hanna, and before long they embark on a passionate, clandestine love affair, which leaves Michael both euphoric and confused. For Hanna is not all she seems.

Years later, as a law student observing a trial in Germany, Michael is shocked to realize that the person in the dock is Hanna. The woman he had loved is a criminal. Much about her behaviour during the trial does not make sense. But then suddenly, and terribly, it does – Hanna is not only obliged to answer for a horrible crime, she is also desperately concealing an even deeper secret.


Not all copy must be used but must be considered and reasons for not using discussed. Text and Logo on spine MUST be used, barcode on back MUST be used – or space left.

The Reader
Bernhard Schlink
‘For generations to come, people will be reading and marvelling over Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader’ Evening Standard

The Reader
Bernhard Schlink
W&N logo

‘Bernard Schlink’s extraordinary novel The Reader is a compelling meditation on the connections between Germany’s past and its present, dramatised with extreme emotional intelligence as the story of a relationship between the narrator and an older woman. It has won deserved praise across Europe for the tact and power with which it handles its material, both erotic and philosophical’ Independent on Saturday Magazine

‘Leaps national boundaries and speaks straight to the heart…a moving, suggestive and ultimately hopeful work’ New York Times

‘Deeply moving, sensitive enough to make me wince, a Holocaust novel, but light years away from the common run’ Ruth Rendell, Sunday Telegraph

The Reader by Bernard Schlink is the German novel I have been waiting for: it objectifies the Holocaust and legitimately makes all mankind responsible’ Sir Peter Hall, Observer



W&N mmp template (PDF)


The winner will have the opportunity to work with the award-winning Art Department at Orion Books and have their design appear on a book.


The judges for the 2017 competition will be:
- Lucie Stericker (Creative Director, Orion Publishing Group)
- Steve Marking (Art Director, Orion Publishing Group)
- Sophie Buchan (Senior Commissioning Editor, Orion Publishing Group)


Zigmund Lapsa


Kate Akley


Emanuel Santos 2016



The Orion Publishing Group was founded in 1991. Soon after, Orion acquired Weidenfeld & Nicolson, which established its reputation by publishing controversial bestsellers such as Nabokov’s Lolita, and over the years it has continued to publish high quality, prize-winning fiction and non-fiction across a range of genres. Recent and current authors include Michael Palin, Antonia Fraser, Edna O’Brien, H.G. Wells and Pope John Paul II. Orion Books’ design team have produced many iconic covers, including the global bestseller Gone Girl, and Antony Beevor’s The Second World War.



Can I send in more than one entry?
Each applicant may only send in one entry per title.

Where can I find out more about Orion Books?

Would it be a good idea to read the books?
Of course; it would be greatly beneficial to familiarise yourself with the book but it is not essential, we have provided enough information.



The closing date for entries is Monday 3rd April 2017.

Entries must be supplied in the following format:

A3 PDF with image/s and description of your idea, 1 page preferred but no more than 3 please. 

If you have created a website or animation please send a link along with your PDF.

Maximum file size 7 MB

All entries must be submitted digitally to designcompetition@orionbooks.co.uk.  Entries submitted in any other way, either by hard copy or email, will not be accepted.


.    Deadline for Entries
The closing date for entries is Monday 3rd April 2017.
Orion will accept submissions from Friday 27 January 2017.

2.    Eligibility
To be eligible for the competition you must be a student in a degree (or equivelant) or above.
There can be only one named entrant per entry.

3.    Submissions
Submissions must be emailed to designcompetition@orionbooks.co.uk. Any entries submitted in any other way will not be accepted. Any work sent to the offices of Orion Publishing cannot be returned. Orion cannot be held responsible for any original artwork delivered in person to the offices.

4.    Terms and Conditions of Entry
•    The closing date for receipt of all entries is Monday 3 April 2017.
•    No purchase necessary to enter this competition.
•    This competition is open to students on an arts degree course in the UK. This competition is not open to any Orion staff member or their families.
•    No responsibility can be accepted for incorrectly uploading entries. Submissions by agents or third parties are invalid.
•    All correctly submitted entries will be forwarded to the judging panel.
•    Entries will not be returned to entrants and Orion accepts no responsibility for loss of or damage of work.
•    The winner of the competition will be announced on the Orion website on 3 May 2017 and the winner notified by telephone and or email beforehand.
•    The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative will be offered to the winner.
•    If at the sole discretion of the judges, none of the entries reach the high standard expected, no prize will be awarded.
•    The decision of the judges is final and correspondence will be entered into only at the absolute discretion of Orion.
•    All entrants hereby licence Orion Publishing the use of their entry for display on any Hachette-owned website and media partners. Appropriate credits will be given when possible.
•    Orion Publishing will use any data submitted by entrants only for the purposes of running the completion, unless otherwise stated.  By entering the completion all entrants consent to the use of their personal data by Orion for the purposes of administration of this completion.
•    By submitting an entry, each entrant agrees to these Terms and Conditions.